You don’t need to break the bank on something for that special someone.
Americans spend more than 20 billion dollars on gifts and treats for Valentine’s Day, according to the National Retail Federation. When you avoid clichés and tailor a gift specifically for the recipient, even cheap Valentine’s Day gifts can be just as meaningful as a more expensive present.
Gift-giving isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. To find the perfect gift, tailor your present to reflect your loved one’s values and preferences, so they’ll feel appreciated and understood.
The cheap Valentine’s Day gift guide
This cheap Valentine’s Day gift guide combines affordable present options and fun, immersive experiences. Everything listed is available for $20 or less, although some options require a little more research and planning to come in at that price point.
It’s organized by personality, so you’ll see gift ideas for your partner, your crush or for your girls on Galentine’s Day. It includes cheap Valentine’s Day gift ideas for romantics who adore the holiday, practical people who think it’s a waste of time, travelers, nature lovers, homebodies and everyone in between. So, just find their personality on the list and start shopping.
Jump ahead by personality:
The practical one
It’s a challenge to shop for someone who rolls their eyes at the very idea of Valentine’s Day. The trick to pleasing super practical people is to give them something that they’d use anyway. Upgrade the quality to make it feel special.
1. Something to sip
Update their cherished morning ritual with gourmet coffee, high-end, loose-leaf tea or a gift card to their favorite local coffee or tea shop so they can try something out of the ordinary. You can also replace a chipped cup or well-loved travel mug.
2. Luxurious gloves
Warm gloves are a welcome gift in cold climates. Comparison shopping uncovers options in leather, cashmere, wool or shearling for around $20.
3. Deluxe shaving kit
Help them sneak in a little pampering without feeling frivolous by upgrading their shaving supplies. Winter air is drying, so look for moisturizing lotions and shaving cream.
4. Beauty tools
Self-care requires precise tools. So, treat them to a coordinating set of make-up brushes or a new manicure kit.
5. Moccasin slippers
Warm slippers are a favorite indulgence, but we often don’t buy them for ourselves. Look for a durable sole and super soft lining.
The kid at heart
Give someone freewheeling and fun a gift that’s equally breezy. These cheap Valentine’s Day gifts let them know you care without taking the holiday too seriously.
6. A candygram
Candy doesn’t have a be a cliché. Pack a clear tackle box with their colorful gummy candies or create a custom gift basket with all of their favorite sugary snack foods.
7. Game night
If competition gets their blood flowing, spring for a small dart board, mini air hockey table or a yard game with rings of beanbags that can also be used in the living room. Game night just got a whole lot more interesting.
8. Upgrade a favorite game
A $20 bill can buy elegant wooden dominos, brass dice or an elegant poker set. Even beloved childhood board games are available in more sophisticated packaging.
9. Mini arcade game
Retro classics like Pac-Man, Oregon Trail, Tetris and more are re-imagined as tiny arcade games your crush can carry around on a keychain. It’s retro fun at their fingertips.
A homebody revels in comfort. Their home is their castle and they feel most safe and secure within its walls. Whether they’re natural introverts who need quiet to recharge or extroverts in search of refuge, they appreciate gifts that encourage them to nest and rest.
Learn their favorite scent, then invest in the biggest, most beautifully scented candle you can afford. Soy candles burn cleaner and last longer than paraffin wax, so you’ll get more for your money.
11. Movie night film festival
Treat them to a mini film festival from the comfort of the couch. Stream actual film festival selections (several moved online recently) or screen their favorite movies. Don’t forget to bring popcorn, cold drinks and plenty of movie candy to snack on.
12. The softest blanket
If the bed or the couch is their happy place, make it extra comfy with the softest, coziest blanket you can find. It’s an invitation to relax and unwind.
13. Mind games
Give them a variety of quiet pastimes to keep their minds and hands busy. Try puzzles — jigsaw, crosswords, word search or Sudoku — or a pretty deck of playing cards.
14. Something to read
Treat them to a best-seller, a beautifully bound classic or a favorite title. If you have money left over, tuck a pretty bookmark inside or put the balance on a gift card to their favorite indie bookshop.
The glamorous one
If they’re always a little bit extra, give them something special to match their energy. It’s challenging to find cheap Valentine’s Day gifts for a partner who appreciates the finer things in life, so concentrate on those little touches of luxury that will help them shine.
15. Something shiny
Jewelry isn’t limited to big budgets. Look for vintage rhinestones, delicate sterling silver or simple gold-plated items or try semiprecious stones or crystals for a little sparkle.
16. Sparkling wine
A little bubbly makes everything feel festive. Blow the budget on the best bottle of cava, prosecco or sparkling rosé options you can afford and put it on ice for a taste of the high life.
17. Dressing gown drama
Give their loungewear an extra shot of glamour. Shop the sales to score a spa-style robe, a cotton kimono or a silky, swishy dressing gown.
18. An at-home spa day
Pamper them with a day of indulgence. Package up a selection of facial masks, bath bombs, rich lotions and deep-conditioning treatments, with a few healthy treats and teas thrown for sustenance.
The nature lover
If your Valentine would rather be outside instead of out to dinner, don’t fight it. Lean into their outdoorsy impulses with practical gifts that highlight their favorite wild places and activities.
19. A trail date
If they appreciate quality time in nature, nothing beats a day on the trail. Package up some snacks, upgrade their water bottle and surprise them with a destination, trail map and your undivided attention.
20. Customized compass
Commemorate your love with the tool that will always help them find true north. Customize this symbolic and useful gift with their initials, a meaningful date or words of wisdom.
21. Park gear
Honor their favorite state, national or provincial park with original art, photographs and clothing. Even if they can’t visit at the moment, inspiration will always be close at hand.
22. Key coordinates accessories
Choose a place they love, like where you met, their hometown or a favorite trail. Then immortalize the latitude and longitude of that location on a necklace, bracelet or keychain so they can always keep it close.
The romantics love personalized gifts and meaningful messages. So, skip those predictable and practical presents and create something special just for them.
23. Memory keeper
Preserve snapshots, ticket stubs, coasters, gig posters, postcards, love notes and other ephemera in a shadow box, a keepsake box or memory book. (Just avoid gluing delicate or sentimental items.) You can also purchase a ticket stub organizer or scrapbook.
Avoid roses (the ultimate overpriced Valentine’s Day cliché) and opt for wildflowers, herbs, dried flowers or an aphrodisiac plant for an unconventional look that will last longer and cost less. Look to their wardrobe, interior design style and favorite colors for inspiration.
25. A meaningful puzzle
Honor a memorable place or moment – the café where you met, your engagement, your dream honeymoon beach – in a puzzle. Photo sites will use your own photos.
26. Love letters
Pen a thoughtful letter telling your partner what they mean to you. (If you don’t know where to begin, you can purchase books that help you fill in the blanks.) Then, treat your partner to some beautiful stationary to elevate their own personal correspondence.
27. Make photo art
Take a favorite photograph to the next level by making into a true work of art. Transform those panoramic shots from your last vacation into an oversized canvas, turn your silly snapshots into a gallery of photo tiles or print a beloved photo onto wood or glass for a dramatic effect.
Adventurous eaters and creative cooks are easier to shop for than you think. Cheap Valentine’s Day gifts can go a long way in the kitchen, whether it’s funding a hands-on course or a foodie-friendly date night.
28. Craft cocktail kit
Elevate their cocktail game with artisanal bitters, colorful sugar blends and customized simple syrups. Add a recipe or a mini bottle of spirits for a little extra fun.
29. A spectacular dessert
Skip the heart-shaped boxes of candies. You can score cocoa-dusted truffles, imported chocolates or colorful macaroons for just a few dollars more. Or, call their favorite bakery and commission a jaw-dropping cake or artfully decorated pastries.
30. Cheese plate or charcuterie tray
If they prefer savory instead of sweet, tempt them with a mix of meats, cheeses, crackers, bread, olives, fruit, nuts and other nibbles. Purchase a ready-made tray from their favorite restaurant or market or assemble your own.
31. Cooking classes
Research what your partner would like to learn (pastry techniques, bread baking, pasta making) and find an online cooking class so they can try it at home. Online courses are usually more affordable than in-person classes, so your budget could stretch to cover ingredients, too.
The frequent traveler
Jet-setters, globe-trotters and frequent travelers often resist slowing down and staying in one place. If you’re lucky enough to love one, give them gifts and experiences that will honor their wanderlust and curiosity.
32. Immersive experiences
Treat your traveler to unique experiences from all over the globe. Amazon Explore and Airbnb Experiences feature international tours and workshops online. Museums and performing arts companies also offer virtual tours, courses and streaming events.
33. International date night
You don’t have to leave home to feel transported. Cook a meal from a country they love, serenaded by a playlist packed with musicians from the region. After, settle in for a foreign film (or two) from the same place.
34. Snack time
Hit up the global food market, specialty and import shops or shop online to find snacks and drinks from all over the world. Combine them in a gift basket featuring foods from one destination or travel the world through gourmet chocolate, tea, coffee, cookies or snack foods.
35. Travel journal
Select a beautifully bound blank travel journal for future travels. Or, choose a guided version so they can record their favorite destinations and travel memories.
36. Scratch off map
Carefully scratching off the places they’ve visited with a coin or key will fuel their wanderlust and help them see how far they’ve come. The map will be attractive to look at any stage.
A traditionalist gravitates toward quality materials and looks that withstand the test of time. Give them a gift that’s as classic as they are.
37. Signet ring
A simple raised ring engraved with a monogram or words of wisdom is a classic look. Gold is more traditional, but sterling silver is more readily available at this price point.
38. Personalized money clip
An elegant money clip is traditional and practical. They’re fashioned from leather, brushed metal and even wood. Personalize them with a monogram, a favorite quote or a message.
39. Monogrammed glasses
Well-crafted high ball glasses make cocktails — and anything else — look elegant. Give your loved one a monogrammed set for a personalized touch that never goes out of style.
40. Personalized collar stays
Artisans can engrave your wishes and words onto silver stays that’ll keep their collar looking sharp. The message will be your little secret.
It’s the thought that counts
A present can be both affordable and meaningful. Even cheap Valentine’s Day gifts can have a big impact when you tailor the gift for the one you love.